Sunday, August 9, 2015

Water logged

Kim had just finished taking her shower Monday morning. It was about 6:30 a.m. or so.

"Bruce," she said, coming down the stairs, "there's something wrong with our water pressure. There's hardly any water coming out of the shower. Do you think we have a leak?"

For crying out loud, I thought to myself. What am I supposed to do about it?

"Let me check under the house," I said. Checking under the house is one of my favorite things to do, of course. Cobwebs. Dirt. Maybe a snake or two. Who knows? But I got my trusty combination radio/siren/lantern and peeked through the crawl space door.

Nothing. Dry as a bone.

"I don't think it's us," I told her as I came back into the house, dusting myself off. "I'll call the plumber at 8 o'clock."

Calling the plumber is the smartest thing I do whenever we have a water issue. The last thing you want to see is me with a wrench in my hand around a leaky faucet.

I went back to playing on the computer as Kim got ready for work. Then, around 10 minutes to eight, just moments away from dialing the plumber, I checked Facebook and saw this picture:

This is pretty dramatic, isn't it?
Holy smokes, I thought. Lake Thom-A-Lex had just relocated itself in that guy's front yard. You could almost go fishing in his hedges.

Don't guess I need a plumber after all. That was close.

"Kim," I said as she headed out the door. "It's not just us. I think this might be a city problem."

Turned out it was a city problem, big time. The broken main on Hillside Drive apparently nearly emptied the three massive water towers in town. Somewhere around 8,000 customers were affected.

This is the kind of broken water line you might expect to see in Philadelphia or New York. Uh-oh.

But the city's utility people jumped on that thing right away. Amazingly, by mid-afternoon, the main was repaired. When I got home from work later in the day, I tentatively turned on the tap and found we had decent water pressure. In fact, the water was surprisingly clear.

The city did issue advisories to boil the water before drinking it, or else use bottled water. We used bottled water to brush our teeth, although I clearly remember when I was a kid drinking out of ponds and creeks with the crayfish and salamanders. But I also used to dance behind DDT trucks, rode bicycles without a helmet and zoomed down metal sliding boards with a sheet of wax paper under my fanny to make the ride ever faster.

OSHA be damned. It's a wonder I'm still here.

Anyway, the inconvenience continued for another day or so since the water still had to be tested and approved. But we were back in the flow, so to speak, by Wednesday. That's a pretty nice job for a small town, I think.

And think of the stories we can tell about the great geysers of water that ripped through Lexington back in 2015.


  1. I am the guy who owns and resides in that house. I'm not sure if you're aware, but the city has decided that although it's their water main that broke under their street, pouring millions of gallons of water through our property and homes (my next door neighbor's home was greatly impacted as well), they don't have to make repairs for us. The water has caused foundation/basement walls to buckle in my neighbor's home (a 74-year old woman on a fixed income) and detach her carport. It has put a crack in my basement floor running almost the length of the house and raised it at the crack by at least 6-inches. We have sinkholes throughout the properties (one about 8-feet from an electrical pole). The city has basically destroyed our properties/homes and is taking the "screw you" attitude.

  2. What a shock that must have been. At least you didn't need a plumber that time. Whenever we have any water trouble, such as a lacking pipe, I always call out the local plumber. I don't trust myself when it comes to fixing water related problems. I'm just so glad that plumbers exist. I hope you have no more trouble.

    Gordon Patton @ Bison Plumbing

  3. I'm a little curious after reading your blog as to whether or not you noticed the water was in front of your house or in the street? You said your house was dry and under it as well. And reading your neighbors comments I also wonder if you happened to suffer any damage to your property. Hopefully not, and am also impressed the repairs were quick.

    Nathan Riley @ Steemer Atlanta

  4. Bruce just one day pick the wrench and face the leaking drainage system. I just realized the power of Facebook in the morning when water pressure is low. Well written article and I totally love the conversation. Bruce’s temptation to drink the raw water is a trap I have fell into several times and I survived too although had a mild stomach upset.

    Gregg Hogan @ American Basement Solutions